154 MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE
led Wu Sankwei to enter Peking with the assistance of Manchu
troops for her recovery, and in this way directly contributed to
the founding of the Manchu Dynasty. It is noteworthy that
after Wu had thus brought about the downfall of the Chinese
Ming empire, Ch'en Yuanyuan separated from him and chose
to live as a nun in a specially built monastery on Shangshan.
We have also the case of Li Hsiangchiin, who was reputed for
her constancy and whose political inclinations and courage put
many a man to shame by comparison. She had more political
chastity than many men revolutionists of to-day. After her
lover had been hounded out of Nanking she shut herself up,
and when she was forcibly brought to the home of the official
in power and commanded to sing at a wine-feast, she improvised
songs of satire in the presence of her captors, who were her
political enemies, calling them "adopted sons of the eunuch."
Poems and songs written by these ladies have been handed
down to the present. The history of Chinese intellectual women
will have to be sought partly in the lives of such accomplished
courtesans as Hstieh T'ao,Ma Hsianglan,LiuJushih and others.
The courtesan supplied the need for courtship and romance
which many men missed in their youth before marriage. I
speak of "courtship" advisedly, because the sing-song girl,
differing from the common prostitutes, had to be courted.
Such was the respect for ladies in China that, as we are told
in the novel Chiuweikuei (Nine-Tailed Tortoise) describing
modern times, many a man had to court a lady of supposedly
easy virtue for months and spend three or four thousand dollars
before he was permitted to pass a night in her boudoir. Such
a preposterous situation was possible only with the seclusion of
women, but when men could not find female company and
romance elsewhere, it was also perfectly natural. The man,
inexperienced in female company and tired of his wife-cook-
and-sock-darner, began to experience what Western men call
romance before their marriage. He saw a lady who took his
fancy, desired her, and began to have a feeling analogous to
falling in love. The lady, being so much more experienced and
accomplished, had an easy game, and the man sometimes had a
feeling almost of worship. It was, in fact, the one kind of court-
ship legitimate and proper in China.